Can we use psychology to create sustainable behaviour?
Psychology is the study of why we behave the way we do and what it takes to change our behaviour. Climate Psychology takes this knowledge and applies it to the problem of climate change.
Ducky works with Climate Psychologists to get a better understanding of what drives environmentally friendly behaviour. Our products are created with expert knowledge, making it easy to change habits.
Like all important innovations there are early adopters or frontrunners who are exploring more sustainable lifestyles. The real challenge lies in getting the majority of the population onboard with the lifestyles of these frontrunners.
The climate psychologists gives us concrete information about the barriers early adopters face, and how we together can simplify the process for the majority of the population.
Three important aspects are to demonstrate that frontrunners are “people like us”, to show how new lifestyles can be simple, and to show that their new lifestyles actually contribute to make a difference.
Everett Rodger's Innovation adoption curve (1962). trying to convice the mass of a new idea is useless. Convince innovators and early adopters first.
What we do as individuals is a combination of three factors:
As teenagers most of us have been accused of having an attitude. What we should have responded is “Of course I have an attitude; how else would I decide what’s best to do!”. Our attitude affects our behaviour. However, behaviour also influences attitude. For example, if you recycle you are likely to feel that this is important for the climate. This behaviour encourages good environmental attitudes.
Influences from other people are important to us. If your neighbours acknowledge your electric car then they are more likely to choose likewise; especially if you communicate the benefits. In time this can change entire communities.
Our ability to make climate friendly choices are affected by our environment. You are more likely to change your habits if it’s easy to do and the benefits are obvious. If there are no convenient charging stations you are less likely to buy an electric car.
All these three factors influence our intention of doing something, which again is the next step towards a new behaviour (Ajzen, 1991). Psychology has identified many more factors. Many of our daily decisions are for example done by force of habit, without even thinking about them. This often makes them difficult to change and needs a push.